PV Quality Certification
A part of the Solarif PV Quality Program is our PV Quality Certification, subject to a positive outcome of the factory risk assessment. If the outcome of the factory risk assessment meets our requirements the panels produced in the factory assessed become Solarif-certified.
Why certify your product by Solarif?
There are different reasons to have your product certified by Solarif. Below a selection of advantages is listed about pv certification.
- Only owners of Solarif-certified panels can purchase the unique inherent defect coverage, protecting the panels up to 20 years against damages due to inherent defect. Examples of inherent defect are delamination, bad soldering and short circuit in the junction box.
- The inherent defect coverage remains in force even in case of bankruptcy of the manufacturer (insolvency cover / third party insured warranty).
- More and more customers require third party insurance of the manufacturers’ warranty. Solarifs inherent defect coverage is the solution.
- More and more manufacturers are excluded from tenders or suppliers selection if they lack third party insurance backing up their warranties.
- Certification helps manufacturers identifying and optimizing their processes by providing the factory management a tool to check, evaluate and manage the quality.
- Possible problems will be detected and identified, so action can be taken to prevent errors in the future.
Solarif Risk Management will perform a Technical as well as a Financial due diligence in order to be able to evaluate the insurability of the panels produced in the assessed factory.
Financial Due Dilligence
Solarif’s Financial Due Diligence aims to determine the default risk of the manufacturer. Solarif checks amongst others:
- Audited Financial Statements for the past three years
- Budgets & Forecasts over the next years
- Last three internal audit reports
- Business & Product information to understand potential volume of sales
- Target groups i.e. potential clients
- Warranty claims
- Clients complaint register, including related problem-solving activities
Technical Due Dilligence
The technical due diligence consists of a system of quality audits that verifies the effectiveness of the quality management system and the final quality outcome of the assessed materials. The focus points during the technical due diligence consists of:
- Company profile
- Product information and factory certifications
- Manufacturing process
- Machine calibration and maintenance
- In-house lab testing
- Quality Management organization chart
- Customer Engineering Services
- Testing and Flashing of randomly selected solar modules
When all requirements are met, the type of panels assessed and produced in the assessed factory become Solarif-certified and Solarif will issue an official 1-year certificate for the panel types approved and produced during the full certification year.
Based on the outcome of the assessments, Solarif Risk Management will:
- Issue a certificate – per factory
- Request an improvement plan – per factory and/workshop
- Reject Solarif certification
After a positive outcome of the complete Solarif Risk Assessment Solarif will:
- provide the final technical and financial reports;
- issue an official signed and stamped certificate per factory with a start date equal to the visiting date for the Technical Risk Assessment.
In case the Technical Risk Assessment resulted in one or more non-conformities, the manufacturer is committed to communicate to Solarif an improvement plan existing of root cause analysis, corrections and corrective actions within 15 working days from the date of the Technical Risk Assessment. Non-conformities closure is within 3 months from the date of the Technical Risk Assessment.
In case of a rejection, Solarif declines to issue a certificate:
- If the assessed company did not pass the Financial Risk Assessment;
- If the assessed factory did not pass the Technical Risk Assessment.
In both cases, the complete procedure stops. The assessed company/factory will not receive a certificate and will only be able to apply for a new certification after 12 months.
Types of certifications
IEC Certifications for PV Modules
The IEC standard test protocols for photovoltaic (PV) modules main focus is quality and safety characteristics. The main and must-have IEC certificates for solar (PV) panels are:
Crystalline-silicon terrestrial photovoltaic (PV) modules – Design qualification and type approval
The IEC 61215 standard covers parameters concerning the ageing of photovoltaic modules as well as describing the various qualification tests, covering all forces of nature, such as; Sunlight (including UV), climate (variations in temperature), coldness, warmth and humidity and mechanical load, for instance hail, wind pressure as well as snow parameters that affect the ageing of PV modules.
Thin-film terrestrial photovoltaic (PV) modules – Design qualification and type approval
The IEC 61646 standard covers all type of thin-film PV modules. This standard is largely similar to the IEC 61215.
Photovoltaic (PV) module safety qualification
The IEC 61730 specifies the safety criteria for PV modules and consists of two parts;
Part 1 Requirements for construction:
This approach covers all necessities for construction and states the mandatory design characteristics of the modules to be qualified as a sufficiently safe PV module.
Part 2 Requirements for testing:
This part highlights the requirements for PV modules safety testing, which is defined within three different classifications for a module design, i.e. specifying the type of use, the related qualification tests and the resulting safety class modifications.
ISO Certifications for Manufacturer’s
Quality Management System
The standard sets out the requirements for a quality management system and is based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement. A new version of this standard has been launched, ISO 9001;2015, which replaces the previous version (ISO 9001;2008). Using ISO 9001:2015 helps ensure that customers get consistent, good quality products and services, which in turn brings many business benefits, such as repeat custom, new clients and increased business for your organization. Being ISO 9001 certified provides also access to new markets as some sectors and clients require this specific Certification before commencing business.
Environmental Management System
ISO 14001:2015 sets out the criteria for an environmental management system. It maps out a framework that an organization can follow to set up an effective environmental management system which helps to improve their environmental performance through more efficient use of resources as well as reduction of waste materials, consequently gaining a competitive advantage and trust of stakeholders. A new version of this standard has been launched, ISO 14001:2015, which replaces the previous version (ISO 14001;2004). In addition, organizations certified to ISO 14001;2004 will be granted a three-year transition period since publication of the new standard, in order to align to the new edition of the standard. Using ISO 14001:2015 can provide assurance to company management and employees as well as external stakeholders that environmental impact is being measured and improved.
ISO 50001:2011 provides a framework of requirements for organizations to:
- Develop a policy for more efficient use of energy
- Fix targets and objectives to meet the policy
- Use data to better understand and make decisions about energy use
- Measure the results
- Review how well the policy works, and
- Continually improve energy management.
Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Specification
The purpose of an occupational health & safety management system is to reduce the risks of injuries, accidents and work-related illness within an organization. Nevertheless, in March 2018, a new OH&S Management system standard – ISO 45001 – has been launched. This new standard replaces OHSAS 18001, which has been applied since 2007. PV Manufacturers currently holding the OHSAS 18001 certification have three years to re-certify to meet the requirements within the new standard.